On Distributing Distributed Technology, Long Tails, and Scaling

Ton Zijlstra, Interdependent Thoughts, Nov 01, 2018
Commentary by Stephen Downes
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In any technology cycle (including learning technology) "Long tail forming as an adoption pattern is a good way then to see if broad distribution is being achieved," writes Ton Zijllstra. This is the proposition he asserts of Mastodon, which has a big head (or a big spike) of a few very large instances, but only a stubby tail of very few small-scale adopters. To expand the tail you need (among other things) a "lower thresholds of adoption (technically, financially, socially, intellectually)." This is the contradiction most technology faces: easier adoption is best facilitated by a few large instances (think MoodleRooms, WordPress.com, Facebook, Mastodon.social) but for a genuinely decentralized network you need to minimize these large instances and promote the long tail. Because in decentralized technology, it's all tail. Image via Alan Levine.

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